FARM EQUIPMENT maker Case IH announced plans to “dominate the cash crop market” at its 2006 Big Red Roundup media event held last month in Phoenix. The company invited journalists and more than 1,000 dealers to its Arizona testing grounds for a first-time look at its new and updated line of farm equipment, including the new MX Magnum and STX Steiger tractors.
“Over the last five years Case IH has modernized most of its product lines,” says Frank Anglin, vice president of Case IH North America. “We introduced 250 plus new or upgraded models of agricultural and construction equipment, including the new Magnum and Steiger tractors. As we move forward, our goal is to close the gap between the competition.”
At the roundup, performance troupe Street Jam and a full marching band led a parade of Case IH tractors, combines, air seeders and planters designed to lead dealers to new markets, new customers and new sales growth.
New MX Magnums
The highlight of the parade was the new MX Magnum and STX Steiger tractors, which the company launched in response to Tier III emission standards. The new MX series of Magnum tractors consists of four models with PTO horsepower ratings up to 255 hp for up to 50% PTO torque rise and up to 37 hp power growth. The three lower-horsepower models — the MX215, MX245 and MX275 — are powered by an 8.3-liter engine. The largest model — the MX305 — uses a 9.0-liter engine. The 24-valve, 2,000-rpm-rated electronic engines let you lower engine speed while maintaining ground speed to save fuel. A new common rail system is designed to burn cleaner and use less fuel than the mechanical fuel system used in previous models, while providing consistent fuel delivery.
“In meeting Tier III, we needed room to increase the cooling package on these engines,” says Roger Lewno, marketing and training manager. “So we raised the cab 4 in. to increase cooling capacity, which also increases visibility from the operator's perspective.”
New instrumentation was also added in the cab to give the operator the ability to monitor tractor performance and calculate its productivity.
The AFS AccuGuide autoguidance system with a new AFS 252 GPS receiver and AFS 200 color monitor comes factory ready to improve accuracy during planting, spraying, strip-till and zone management while reducing operator fatigue.
“Another key attribute on the MX Magnum tractors is that we've gone to a one-piece hood for ease of service,” Lewno says. “With that, we are drawing air in from up front to supply 15% more airflow and give longer filter life on the unit.”
The tractors are available in three powershift transmission options so customers can tailor the tractor to meet their needs. Lewno defended the choice to not use a continuously variable transmission by saying its current cost does not yet match the value to the customer.
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New STX Steiger tractors
The new 4-wd STX series of Steiger tractors consists of six models ranging from 280 to 530 engine horsepower. Named after their engine horsepower, the tractors are available in four engine sizes and three frame sizes.
“We matched the cube size of the engine to the horsepower requirements of the customer,” says Kyle Russell, marketing manager for 170+ hp and 4-wd tractors. “Prior to this, we had the 8-, 9- and 15-liter engines. So we've expanded the selection by adding a 12.9-liter Case IH engine on the large-size frame to provide 5 more horsepower, whereas the competition has only one engine size for all models.”
The small frame is available with the industry-exclusive AccuSteer precision steering system for the row-crop market. The large frame is for mid-range-horsepower 4-wd needs, and the extra-large frame is for pulling the heaviest loads. An additional cooling package is featured on the 480 and 530 models.
The full powershift transmissions have been upgraded with electronic pulse width modulated (PWM) shift solenoids to provide a smoother shift when combined with the new AutoShift feature. “Before you had to physically bump each gear with your thumb,” Russell explains. “Now the engine and transmission will talk to each other so you get a nice, smooth, seamless shift.”
For more information, circle 208.
Dick Worf, product planning manager for Case IH's MXU tractors, demonstrated a new feature called Turn Assist. The feature reduces the number of times you have to rotate the steering wheel to turn. “For instance, if you are backing up and need to take a full left-hand turn, you would have to turn the steering wheel four to five times,” he says. “Turn Assist lets you turn a full left or full right by turning the steering wheel 10 degrees.”
Suggested list price: $1,174. For more information, circle 209.
More products planned
Anglin says the results of Case IH's gap-closing efforts will be seen in the next two years and will be fully realized by 2008. Case IH plans to introduce a total of 27 new products in 2006 and a new Class VII combine in 2007.
The products will be sold strictly under the Case IH brand despite the company's link to New Holland. “You'll see further differentiation, not less,” Anglin says.
He defended the company's dual branding strategy by saying multiple brands are the best way to offer customers alternatives.